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Color Theory In A New Light

Lesson 3 from: Mastering Lightroom Classic & Photoshop Fundamentals

Andrew Kearns

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Lesson Info

3. Color Theory In A New Light

Ever heard of variegation? Hue, saturation, and luminance can work together in beautiful and scientific ways.

Lesson Info

Color Theory In A New Light

All right, welcome back to the studio. So in this section, I just wanna simply talk about contrast, and I look at contrast a lot more than just that top slider at the top of Lightroom. Contrast is not only playing into the exposure values of your image, the shadows, the highlights, the midtones, even though that's what that top slider in Lightroom is targeting. I see contrast being a very important factor in so many other things, the exposure values, the color toning, the subjects of the images, I guess three other things. (laughs) That's how I view it. But then going into stuff like the colors, like understanding how colors contrast each other really well, but also how the components and the subjects within your frames contrast against each other. And I'll explain what I mean here real quick. Let's jump into my screen here, and look at the exposure values idea first. So here's a color wheel circle. I'm sure you guys have seen it before. I'm actually gonna make it black and white real ...

quick, but it'll get the point across. So I'm actually gonna take the exposure down really quick, and we're gonna look at it desaturated, no colors at first. Obviously the contrast we all think about and consciously are aware of is the exposure values contrast, which is this fourth little slider right here. And if you slide that, you can see it creates a nice, nice contrast there between your highlights and your shadows, and, nothing new under the sun, pretty basic stuff. But I will be talking about this a lot in the editing to follow, and really that's what this section is. I don't wanna go in depth in this section at the moment. This is just key points I'm gonna be talking about in the editing to follow. So let's talk about the colors now. Reset this guy, pro tip, Command+Shift+R, if you do that, resets all your settings. So now we're back to the original color wheel. So the other thing I wanna talk about is contrast between the same color. And once again, I apologize it's 220 pixels wide, but this will get the point across. We're gonna look at this section right here. I'm just gonna draw a really crappy little brush. Boom, thanks for coming to my workshop. I'm actually gonna make it a little bit better. That was kind of a little too bad. So if we're looking at just this blue section here, there's so much in the blue, there's this right here, which is like more teal, this which is more getting to, like, green sea foamy, and this which is gearing more toward purple. So a lot of times in my images, if I'm focusing on the blues, I'm not necessarily focused on this section of the blue, I'm looking at the blues altogether and then finding a good balance between just the blues within the image. That's something I look at in an image. And again, I'm not going in depth here. You'll see it a bit more in the editing. But I think another aspect we gotta consider is the luminance of it, because you can look right here and see this big range of blue on the outer edge, but you have all this inside and right here is still blueish. It's just a little bit fainter. It's a little bit lighter and easier. So finding contrast within the hue of the same color and then of course the saturation as well, like how intense the color is. So as we look at this, the hue right here is this range of blue. The saturation would be how intense the color is. So this is a little less saturated. The way I look at saturation is I measured it in how much gray you add in. So if you take saturation away, you're adding gray in. I just selected the HSL panel here in this little tab right here to target the blue. And so when I remove the saturation, you see it becomes a lot more gray. That's kind of how I look at saturation. One way other way to look at it would be the intensity of the color, but I just think of it with the lack of or the amount of gray within an image. That's kind of how I see it. And then you have the luminance, which as you go more to that interior of the circle here, it gets a lighter, easier color. And that, I definitely play into luminance quite a lot. Am I editing? And again, you'll see it all in the future here. So if I'm looking at a single color, like the blue section, or the red or the yellow or green area, I'm looking to variegate my colors between that. That's a really good verb, (star sparkles) quick side tangent here, variegated is a great word that I will probably use quite a lot in this. I just wanna read you the definition so we're all on the same page. Variegated is an adjective, and the definition is exhibiting different colors. So if we're variegating that blue, this is just a big variegation area of the blue. Like that's kind of how I see color in a single area of color, like that blue section. That's what I'm looking at. I'm looking for variegated blues, or if I'm looking at foliage and stuff, maybe I wanna variegate the greens quite a bit, capisce? The other thing I'm looking at when I'm looking for contrasting colors is opposites, like complimentary colors. A lot of people will color grade their footage so their shadows are more of a teal bluish. And then if they're filming themselves, their skin is already a nice, like orange, red, pink range of color. So naturally as those colors compliment each other, you're gonna have a good contrast between the background, which is already dark, and then a color of blue. And then you're gonna have your subject pop out in frame that's lit up by lights and a complimentary color being orange. So pretty basic, pretty standard stuff. And you can literally see all those answers here in this color wheel. If you've ever celebrated Christmas, contrasting colors, red and green. Look at that, red, green. If you've ever added skin tone, you have that magenta and that more, like, light green right here, boom, magenta, green. Temperature, you have your blue and your yellow, all these are complimentary colors. And you'll see, I'm looking at those quite a lot in my editing. And that's how I'm looking at contrast within colors. One thing this circle isn't really showing is the intensity of the saturation, as well as a darker luminance. You have some light luminance right here as well as some saturated area right here, but you don't have a full gamut. Obviously you could just crank the saturation so much more and there's a lot more options and you can desaturate it and create a different look to it. And then if you're gonna come back to this lumination panel, you have all these other options to where you can really variegate your colors differently and get a different look from the colors by messing around with that huge saturation luminance panel. And like I said, we'll get more into that in the editing, but that's just a very basic run-through of what I'm looking at when I'm looking at colors and contrast. So as we're looking at this image, we have contrast within the dark and light. This land right here is just nice, dark, simple as that. And then the sky right here as well as the sea is a lighter tone. And you have that, like I said earlier, that natural gradient that just runs across the whole image from dark to light. But a big thing here is the color. If you look at the histogram up here, you have yellow and red being pretty prominent. And you can see that in the sand here. The sand at the Washington coast is usually brown, has a earthy tone to it, and I enunciated that a bit within my curves of this edit. But then you have the sky, which is this kind of greenish-blue color. So that green is contrasting against the natural red of the sand. And with the warmth in the sand, it's a little bit of a yellow tint as well. So that blue is contrasting against that yellow tint. That's how I'm looking at images in terms of contrast is that hue, saturation, luminance of the color, the exposure values of light and dark, and then as well as the subject matters of big landscape, small people, maybe having the person in a dark outfit contrasted against a lighter shaded background. This is really nothing complicated. It's very rudimentary, but it's a lot of simple, effective things that I'm constantly thinking about when I'm editing that really makes an effective edit to an image. This is all stuff I'm constantly thinking about when I'm editing. And that's really what I want you to get from this is those questions like that. You constantly ask yourself, like, "How can I improve this image "and what can I use to do that?" being contrast in hue, saturation, luminance, or in exposure values. Or when you're framing your subjects, be thinking about, "Okay, big landscape, small subject. "That's a good contrast. "Now, how many other elements can I add in "in to compliment that?" Really, at the end of the day, editing is there to compliment your already great photo, like I said before. That pretty much covers just some very basic rudimentary stuff on what I'm thinking about in terms of contrast. It's nothing new under the sun. So with that, I wanna go through Lightroom real quick and show you just a few main things I'm using so when we're in editing, I'm not explaining it during editing.

Class Materials

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Workshop PDF
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Sonora Edit - Before and After
Mountains Edit - Before and After
Edit 01 - Before and After
Edit 02 - Before and After
Edit 03 - Before and After

Ratings and Reviews

Ratul Dutta

This class is really like a good investment. It's gonna help you step by step and you can come back to it multiple times when you need to. Been watching Andrew Kearns on YouTube since 2018. Massive fan of his editing style. I wanted this class as soon as I saw the discount rate. Being a student from a different country, I probably wouldn't have been able to afford it at it's original price. This workshop goes in real depth towards the "approach" of editing a photo. I learnt a tonne of cool stuff. So many new things. Subtle yet so powerful.

Mack Woodruff

Incredibly Eye Opening This workshop truly opened up a whole new world of editing techniques that I didn't fully realize existed. I'd recommend this workshop for anyone who has a basic understanding of LR and PS already and are hoping to take it to new levels. I will keep coming back to it for a long time!

Veronica Ettedgui

Very very nice!!

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